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Book review of Gashi Malar by Farooq Shaheen

Book review of Gashi Malar by Farooq Shaheen
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By: Rayees Ahmad Kumar

In the realm of Kashmiri language and literature, scholars, poets, critics and essayist who have profoundly enriched it and burnt their midnight oil for it’s development and promotion are always applauded and appreciated both at local and national level.

Whether we talk about Mehjoor, Nazki, Azad, Shouq, Rahi, Margoob Or Shad Ramzan, each of them have tried in their own capacities to uplift and promote Kashmiri language and Literature at par with global literature.

Literature of our sufi poets like Socha Kral, Ahad Zargar, Rasul Mir, Nehmood Ghami, Wahab Khar, Shams Faqir and Ahmad Batwari etc is so powerful and unmatched that it has no parallel in the whole world. Former Head of Kashmiri department Prof Shad Ramzan is of the view that Kashmiri poetry of our sufi poets in unique and unparalleled in the whole world. The metaphors and similes used by our sufi poets are seldom found in the literature of other languages of the globe.

World is yet to produce the poets of a caliber our sufi poets are. So it is utmost crucial to protect and conserve the rich heritage and legacy our sufi poets have left behind. Concrete strides must be initiated at an earliest to infuse new life to our endangered literature.

Among those young scholars and poets who currently are on a mission to protect and conserve this rich language, Farooq Shaheen’s name is worth to be mentioned. He regularly composes poetic items and occasionally prose pieces which are complimented and appreciated by a wide readership.

Hailing from Batpora Langate area of North Kashmir’s Kupwara district Farooq besides being a poet and a noted critic is an academician as well. He has authored a couple of books and presently the one which is under my review is Ghasha Malar. It is spread our 195 pages boasting an eye catching cover published by famed Meezan Publishers Srinagar. In its proem distinguished literary personality of valley Mohammad Yousuf Taing writes” Let me congratulate Farooq Shaheen for authoring this nice piece of Kashmiri prose. A couple of essays of this book really enhanced my interest to go through it “.

In its foreword Farooq Shaheen himself says that Ghashi Malar is a collection of critical essays which he has composed during the leisure time for he is heartily attached to writing about criticism. Qasida Burda Sharif(6-16) – according to Farooq Shaheen, it’s author is Imam Sharfudin Mohammad Abu Siri ra, who was bedridden for a long time due to paralysis.

Notwithstanding to knock the doors of doctors and healers there was no respite in his illness. Finally he decided to compose this Qasida and recite it in the court of dearest Prophet SAW. He composed it while in illness and after its completion one day he felt asleep and saw Prophet (SAW) in his dream who touched his entire body by his blessed hands.

Next morning when he awoke he found himself sound and healthy. After offering the dawn prayers he soon met a spiritual icon Hazrat Sheikh Abu Raja (RA) who confirmed it that Imam Siri (RA) last day recited it in the court of dearest prophet (SAW) and he too desired and anxiously craved to recite it. After that it became more popular and was translated into many languages.

Maulana Jami translated it into Persian. Kashmiri Folklore a thorough study (17-42), Folklore of any language reflects the social, economical, political and literal aspects of a society and when we talk about Kashmir it is unparalleled and unique in all respects. Unfortunately we realize it’s eminence and grandeur only when a foreign scholar or researcher talks about it’s glory and resplendence. Farooq Shaheen has written an extensive article regarding Kashmiri folklore in this book, in which he has talked about our rich past when Lala Ded appeared on the literary landscape of valley. It was a saintly figure Kashap Reshi who drained the water from this huge water body and then settled the earliest tribe Naags here.

He was married to Mir thus the valley came to be called as Kashmir. Naags had their own customs and traditions who worshipped Snakes. According to Mohammad Yousuf Taing Kashmir’s folklore Akanandun is the depiction of our rich historical past which has gotten it’s birth here. He further says, due to inner difference of thought and lineage, cracks have developed in the relationships.

He cites an example of Hiemal the wife of Nagrai who belonged to a low-caste and when Hiemal knew it through her fellow women the dou got separated and Nagrai settled elsewhere. Prof Mohiudin Hajini also supports this view in his writings and is of the view “There were strained political relations between Aryas and Nagas as a result they never settled amicably”. Prof Rehman Rahi – Personality of an era(42-60), excellence and eminence of a nation is assessed through its noted figures who have excelled in different walks of life.

Greece was a small country but the philosophy and works of Aristotle and Plato acts as an inspiration to the world even today. In the field of Kashmiri language and literature, Prof Rehman Rahi’s works are profound and exemplary. He is the name of an era, the name of an institution, the name of a movement and the name of a thought and philosophy. Distinguished critic and poet, Prof Hamidi Kashmiri says – Prof Rehman Rahi is the most qualified contemporary poet, who has strong hold not only on Kashmiri but equally holds acquaintance of English, Persian and Urdu.

He has thoroughly studied the literatures of English, urdu and Persian. As a result he infused new life to Kashmiri poetry “. Journey of Modern Kashmiri Ghazal(60-96), the founding fathers of Ghazal in Kashmiri are Mehmood Gami, Rasul Mir, Waza Mehmood and Sheikh Yaqub Sarfi and later it was presented by Mehjoor and Azad aiming to give direction to newer emotions and aspirations. Kamil’s Fictional Prowess (97-106), the Kashmiri Fiction isn’t very old, but alongside poetry and criticism Kashmiri Fiction too has made notable strides parallel to other literatures of globe. It is because the litterateurs of Kashmiri were well versed.

Though we have produced Akhtar Mohidin a legendary Fiction writer of global reputation but when we take a review of the Fiction of Amin Kamil his creative stories too are unique and unmatched. Shahnaz Rashid’s three poems an analysis (121-125), it is said that in a war torn and conflicted part of globe, the best literature is born. When we analyze the literature of Greece they too have encountered such gloomy situations. Shahnaz Rashid who was born and brought up in valley has realised the pain and gave vent to his emotions through best poetic pieces. Presently he is widely hailed by all alike in valley for his creative poetry items. I am really feeling honoured to go through this book of Farooq Shaheen which he has meticulously composed and am lucky enough to have written some lines about this masterpiece. I suggest every literature lover in general and Kashmiri students in particular to get a copy of this to reap a mirade of benefits.

(The author is is a columnist hailing from Qazigund Kashmir)

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